The End Of An Era?

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After an enforced absence in 1991, the VSCC’s Richard Seaman Trophy meeting returned to OuIton Park on August 22/23 for what sadly looks like being the final running at its traditional home, following Brands Hatch Circuits’ introduction of a controversial grading system for meetings in 1993. For this event, the club was successful in obtaining last-minute dispensation from the RAC to revert to the 1991 configuration, omitting the new Knicker Brook ‘chicane’.

Alex Boswell secured the Patrick Marsh Trophy with his 12-litre Hispano-engined Bequet Delage after a strong challenge from Nick Mason (Bugatti 35B), who fell back towards the end after running wide at Old Hall in the damp conditions. Stanley Mann finished a distant third with his eight-litre Bentley.

The Morgan Three-Wheeler race lacked a number of front-runners from recent years. Greg Bibby/Ronnie Shaw emerged as the class of the field and took an untroubled win with their Matchless Super Sports from the JAP engined device of Chas and Tim Reynolds.

Anthony Mayman claimed his fourth successive Richard Seaman Memorial Trophy for Historic cars with no one able to mount a challenge to the two-litre ERA R4D, but Duncan Ricketts took an excellent second place with Sally Marsh’s 1.5-litre ERA R1B after some early pressure from David Morris with R11B. Bruce Spollon (R8C) finished ahead of Mark Gillies (White Riley) and Bill Morris gave the E-type ERA its seasonal debut.

The Duncan Hamilton Trophy race for 1950s sports cars was another D-type Jaguar benefit, with Frank Sytner maintaining recent form in Sir Anthony Bamford’s car. Frank’s narrow, and hard-earned, win was at the expense of John Harper’s similar car. Gary Pearson took third with Andrew Baber’s D-type, the handling of which still required sorting after its Donington shunt.

Mayman’s ERA had no response to Martin Stretton’s ex-Yeoman Credit Cooper T51 in the pre-’61 racing car event, the ERA driver holding a secure, if lonely second place well clear of Amschel Rothschild’s BRM. A torrential downpour caused the postponement of Saturday’s final four-lap Edwardian handicap, which was rescheduled at the start of Sunday’s programme. Chris Gordon was the surprised victor in his Tamplin cyclecar. He made full use of his full credit lap, although he was almost caught on the line by Richard Black’s 9.5-litre Clement. Nick Portway (1914 -FT Sunbeam) held off Barrie Clarke (1913 Metallurgique) for third. Mark Walker was unable to overcome his lap penalty with the swift 8.2-litre Monarch-Curtiss, sixth place being a fair return for his efforts in tricky conditions.

Julian Majzub was in dominant form with his Bugatti 35B, taking the Seaman Vintage Memorial race, his progress only being interrupted by a lurid excursion onto the damp grass at Knicker Brook. A good battle for second developed between Freddie Giles (Cognac Special — now known simply as the AC/GN), Boswell (Bequet) and Stuart Harper (Morgan), with Harper emerging at the head of the group from Giles as the Bequet fell back towards the finish. Driving the late Ron Foottit’s Cognac Special, Giles fulfilled one of Ron’s last wishes by scattering his ashes at Clay Hill on the slowing-down lap.

As at Donington, the allcomers race admitted pre 1966 rear-engined cars, but the only driver to take advantage of this was Mayman, with his Tasman BRM P261. The race followed the Donington script in that the BRM led Martin Stretton’s Cooper (from the 2.5 litre Formula 1) until half-distance when, this time, ignition trouble intervened and forced its retirement as Stretton inherited a fortuitous win. John Harper, in Mayman’s ERA Delage, finished second on the road but incurred a one-minute penalty for a jumped start, although a number of observers opined that it was simply a perfectly-judged departure. He lost second place to Bruce Spollon (R8C), while Bill Morris netted another good result with the E-type ERA. Freddie Giles (Cognac) and Phil Walker (MG) were victorious in the short scratch races, with handicap wins taken by Mike Hollinshead (Lagonda, twice), Peter Livesey (Alvis) and Mark Chubb (Austin 7). A S D C